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Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Joel Klein Resigns as Attorney For The New York City Board Of Education

As Joel Klein had no contract, he was not actually, pursuant to Education Law 2590-h, "chancellor", so I'm not sure what his resignation from the job means.

According to Attorney Matthew Leighton over at the Corporation Counsel, Joel Klein is the Attorney for the NYC Board/Department of Education, and I have this in his own writing (email) to a teacher who sued Klein and wanted to depose him. Leighton told the teacher/Plaintiff that he could not depose Joel Klein, named individually and officially as a Defendant in his case, because, as Attorney for the NYC BOE, Klein could not be deposed as this would be a break of the "attorney-client privilege."

Ms. Black: what role will Joel Klein play in your administration, assuming you get the waiver from New York State to become NYC's next chancellor?

Thank you for a prompt reply to:

Betsy Combier

City’s New Schools Chief Has Much in Common With Boss
Cathleen P. Black (see below as well) earned a reputation in publishing as a tough-minded chief executive who never left her employees guessing what she wanted. A student of management, she wrote a book about strategies for success in the corporate world. She thrived as head of a large media company, showing little interest in politics or a public-service job — until, it seems, a big one suddenly opened up.

In other words, she is a lot like Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, who on Tuesday tapped Ms. Black, 66, the chairwoman of Hearst Magazines, to be the next chancellor of the New York City school system.
Mr. Bloomberg, of course, also built his fortune in media and wrote a book about how he did it. And no one would ever accuse the mayor of being ambiguous when it comes to conveying his expectations of his staff. Ms. Black, at the news conference on Tuesday where she was introduced, made no pretense of having any experience in education. Similarly, Mr. Bloomberg was a political novice when he ran for mayor in 2001. His explanation for picking her sounded a lot like his original pitch for himself: “Cathie is a world-class manager.”

Ms. Black, who was displaced this summer as president of Hearst Magazines, said that she was “very excited about this incredible opportunity to make a difference in the lives of our young people.”

She will be the first woman to head the nation’s largest school system — as she was the first woman to lead the Hearst Corporation’s magazine division and, way back in 1979, the first female publisher of a weekly consumer magazine, New York. In the 1980s, she was publisher of USA Today, charged with finding advertisers for what was then a radically new product.

“Without her, USA Today would likely have failed,” said Allen H. Neuharth, the newspaper’s founder, who described Ms. Black’s management style as “aggressively diplomatic.”

He added, “She was very careful to outline what was expected of people and then try to help them live up to that expectation.”

At Hearst, she helped convince Oprah Winfrey it was time to extend her brand to publishing, personally visiting the talk-show host with a mockup of what was to become O, the Oprah Magazine — one of the biggest success stories in the industry. When it became clear that Talk magazine, a joint venture with Miramax edited by Tina Brown, was unlikely to succeed, she shut it down despite loud objections from Miramax and its brash co-chairman Harvey Weinstein.

“If the stockroom has to be cleaned out and there’s no one to do it, Cathie will roll up her sleeves and do it,” said Valerie Salembier, publisher of Harper’s Bazaar, a Hearst magazine. “The best thing about Cathie, after working with her all these years, is that you know exactly where you stand. She is very straightforward about what you could be doing or doing better.”

Having grown up on the South Side of Chicago, where she attended Catholic schools, Ms. Black moved to New York — she said Tuesday that was her “American dream” — in 1966, after graduating from Trinity College in Washington. She has homes on Park Avenue and in Connecticut, where her children attended private boarding schools. She is married to Thomas E. Harvey, a longtime lawyer for the Institute of International Education, which promotes exchange programs, and a regular donor to Republican candidates and causes.

In a 2005 interview in The New York Times, Ms. Black, the youngest of three children, said: “A lot of the studies would say generally the oldest child is the most ambitious, but for some reason I sort of got those genes.”

In her 2007 book, “Basic Black,” she recalls photocopying her résumé at the office of a job she was eager to move on from. An executive from the company later called her at home and said, “Next time you’re duplicating your résumé, Miss Black, I suggest you remember to take the original off the copier.”

After 15 years at Hearst, Ms. Black suffered her first major and highly public setback this summer when David Carey, a rival from Condé Nast, was brought in to replace her as president of the magazine division.

Her departure apparently came as a surprise to colleagues at Hearst, as her appointment did to senior officials in the Department of Education. One senior education official, who asked not to be identified because he was not authorized to talk to reporters, said many of the department’s leaders learned of Ms. Black’s selection right before it was announced, and few of them seemed to know anything about her.

At Hearst, Frank A. Bennack Jr., the chief executive, said in a memo to the staff that Ms. Black “goes with my blessing,” but suggested he had expected her to stick around longer. “Cathie’s handling of the transition with David, which admittedly we expected to take place over a longer period of time, has been exemplary,” Mr. Bennack wrote.

One asset she brings to her new job: knowing how to deal with strong personalities.

“I’ve joked that if you can work for Rupert Murdoch and Al Neuharth, you can work for anybody,” Ms. Black told The Times in 2005. Now she can add another media mogul to that list — Mayor Bloomberg.

David Carr and Javier C. Hernandez contributed reporting.

Mayor Bloomberg Appoints Cathie Black - History-Making Business Leader with Proven Expertise Making Great Organizations Even Better - Chancellor of New York City Public Schools

Joel Klein – City’s Longest-Serving Chancellor and First to be Directly Accountable for Schools’ Performance – Departs to Tackle Challenges Outside Government After Eight Years of Unprecedented Gains

Black’s 15 Years Leading Hearst Magazines, 8 Years Building USA Today and 4 As the First Woman Publisher of a Major Weekly – New York – Key Preparation for One of the Toughest Management Jobs at Any Level of Government

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg today appointed Cathleen P. Black, a highly-respected leader in one of New York City’s central industries as the next Chancellor of New York City’s Schools and charged her with building on Chancellor Joel Klein’s historic success turning around the nation’s largest school system. Over the past eight years, longer than any other Schools Chancellor has served, Klein transformed New York City’s long-dysfunctional public school system into one that the Obama administration has hailed as a national model, with higher graduation rates, a narrowed achievement gap between black and Hispanic students and their white and Asian peers, significant progress on National Assessment of Educational Progress test results and lower crime. The Mayor selected Black to follow Klein as Chancellor because of her unique experience building on successes and leading teams to even greater achievements, including her stewardship of Hearst Magazines for the last decade and a half. Black is also widely credited with building USA Today into an unprecedented success in her eight years there, and broke through an important gender barrier in 1979 when she became the first publisher of a weekly consumer magazine, New York. New York City has never had a female Schools Chancellor.

“Joel Klein’s extraordinary service to the 1.1 million children and young adults who attend our public schools has secured him a place as a landmark, transformational civic leader in our City’s long history – but for some time now, I’ve known that he was ready to move on. I asked Joel to stay until we could identify a successor – someone with the ability and experience to build on his success, and help take our schools to the next level – and I couldn’t be happier to say that we have found someone who is superlatively qualified to do that,” said Mayor Bloomberg. “Cathie Black is a superstar manager who has succeeded spectacularly in the private sector. She is brilliant, she is innovative, she is driven – and there is virtually nobody who knows more about the needs of the 21st century workforce for which we need to prepare our kids.”

“Our schools are vastly better than they were just eight years ago when the Mayor took office and Chancellor Klein joined his Administration,” said Ms. Black. “Their passion for improving the educational opportunities of our students has lifted the bar higher than anyone could ever have imagined, and my main goal will be to build on the work that has been accomplished during the Bloomberg Administration, and Chancellor Klein’s tenure. I want to thank the Mayor for the privilege of joining his Administration and the great team of people who carry out the City’s mission each and every day.”

“I want to thank Mayor Bloomberg for giving me the best job of my life and for being there every step of the way in the effort to improve education for our students,” said Chancellor Klein. “Public schools in New York City changed my own life and it has been a rare privilege to serve the kids and families of this city during the past eight years. I am thrilled that the Mayor has selected Cathie Black, a distinguished leader, to move this work forward.”

When Chancellor Klein accepted the job as the first New York City schools Chancellor to be directly accountable for improving New York City public schools, he committed to the Mayor that he would stay for up to two terms. Under Chancellor Klein’s leadership New York City ended social promotion, and the City’s graduation rate has increased for eight straight years, reaching a historic high of 63 percent in 2009. New York City students also out-gained students in the rest of the State and the nation on the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP). Scores for City students increased by 11 points in fourth-grade reading, 11 points in fourth-grade math, and 7 points in eighth-grade math. On the NAEP exam, ten points represents a full year of additional learning. Chancellor Klein also developed a robust accountability system centered on annual Progress Reports that award letter grades to schools based on students’ academic achievement and progress, implemented Fair Student Funding to bring long-overdue transparency and equity to school budgets, and eliminated the so-called Rubber Rooms.

Since 2002, the New York City Department of Education has created 474 new schools and created 113,000 public school seats to reduce overcrowding, while investing billions of dollars to improve existing school facilities. This year alone, 17,656 additional seats came online – the largest number created for a single school year since the creation of the School Construction Authority. And between 2001 and 2009, major crime in schools fell 44 percent and violent crime in schools fell 32 percent. As of June 2010, violent crime in schools was down nearly 8 percent and major crime was down 6 percent compared with the prior year.

The Mayor also credited Deputy Mayor Dennis Walcott, Department of Education Chief Operating Officer Sharon Greenberger, and the many talented and committed educators at the Department of Education including Deputy Chancellors Laura Rodriguez, Shael Suransky, and Eric Nadelstern for these gains. This appointment is pending a waiver by State Education Commissioner David Steiner.

First as President, and then as Chairman of Hearst Magazines, Black led a team of some 2,000 employees producing more than 200 local editions of 14 magazines in more than 100 countries. Under her leadership, Hearst had record-breaking years – they built on decades of success with titles like Cosmopolitan, Esquire, Good Housekeeping, Harper's Bazaar, Marie Claire, Popular Mechanics, Redbook, and Town & Country, introduced highly-acclaimed new titles like O, The Oprah Magazine and created digital platforms that were inconceivable in 1995. As the media industry has tackled digital changes, Hearst Magazines has been widely-regarded as being at the forefront of that evolution.

While at Hearst, Black was a member of the team that oversaw the construction of the 46-story Hearst Tower that was erected on the six-story base near Columbus Circle that Randolph Hearst had built in 1928. The Hearst Tower, which was the first skyscraper to break ground in New York City after September 11, 2001, won several awards and was New York City's first LEED Gold skyscraper.

For eight years beginning in 1983, Black served as President and Publisher of USA Today, and then Executive Vice President of the paper’s parent company, helping personnel from Gannett publications coast to coast and from across the publishing industry build a nationwide newspaper that few expected to last. Black started her career in advertising sales with Holiday and the then-new Ms. Magazine, and broke new ground when she became the first female publisher of a weekly consumer magazine, New York, in 1979.

From 1991 to 1996, Black served as President and Chief Executive Officer of the Newspaper Association of America, merging two disparate organizations into one non-profit that represented the needs of thousands of publishers before the Federal government and the American people.

Black serves on the Advisory Council of the Harlem Village Academy, is a longtime Trustee of The University of Notre Dame and is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. Last December, Mayor Bloomberg appointed Black to the host committee for the 2010 National Conference on Volunteering and Service, the world’s largest gathering o service and volunteer leaders that he chaired in June 2010. In May 2010, Black travelled to Detroit with First lady Michelle Obama as part of the White House’s programs to promote youth leadership and mentoring. Black is a prominent participant in The Glow Project, a philanthropy and documentary film project aimed at empowering women and helping them overcome seemingly-insurmountable goals. She has worked with the Literacy Partners and with American Legacy Foundation designing a public service campaign to encourage women to quit smoking. In 2009, the Preservation Resource Center of New Orleans presented its New Orleans Citizenship Award to Black for her leadership in donating time, resources, and volunteers to help New Orleans recover and rebuild post-Katrina.

Black is a graduate of Trinity College, Washington, D.C., and holds nine honorary degrees. Black grew up in Chicago and attended Catholic schools. She and her husband, the lawyer Tom Harvey, are longtime residents of Manhattan, where they raised their two sons and daughter.

New York Schools Chancellor Ends 8-Year Run

Joel I. Klein, who presided over a radical reorganization of the New York City school system and drew praise and criticism for efforts to raise test scores and hold teachers accountable for them, resigned on Tuesday as chancellor after eight years in the job.

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg appointed Cathleen P. Black, the chairwoman of Hearst Magazines, as Mr. Klein’s successor. Ms. Black will be the first woman to head the nation’s largest school system, with a $23 billion budget, 135,000 employees and one million students.

The decision was also noteworthy for the fact that Ms. Black, 66, has no educational background, in keeping with Mr. Bloomberg’s preference for executives from the business world. Because of that, she will need a waiver from the State Education Department; Mr. Klein, who had also been a media executive, was granted one when he took over, in 2002.

Mr. Klein, who had long planned to serve only through two mayoral terms, mulled the decision for the last few months and in the past week landed a job as an executive vice president at News Corporation.

“The decision was whether to stay to the end or to give somebody else a chance,” he said in an interview. “I’m 64 years old now and want to have the opportunity to do something new.”

Mr. Klein can make many claims about the successes of his tenure, including rising test scores and graduation rates, and the initial makings of an objective system to evaluate teachers and schools.

The truth of those claims, and their chances of having a lasting impact, will be debated in the months and years to come. His detractors argue that the test scores were inflated, that parents went unheeded and that teachers were derided and marginalized.

But the very robustness of the debate is testament to the fact that Mr. Klein did deliver on a central promise: to challenge orthodoxies, shake up the status quo and risk dislike in the name of progress.

“Did he stir things up?” Mr. Bloomberg said Tuesday. “You betcha. That was the job, and the great beneficiaries of that stirring were our children.”

Mr. Klein benefited from two historic conditions. He was the first chancellor appointed by the mayor and, as such, was answerable only to him, which gave him power and security. And he was part of — and widely considered a leader in — a national effort for greater accountability in public education shared across partisan lines.

Mr. Klein said he made a final decision to join News Corporation in the last week, a hire that puts a respected official with Democratic credentials — he was a top antitrust lawyer in President Bill Clinton’s Justice Department — in the executive suite at Rupert Murdoch’s conservative-leaning news media giant. A person familiar with the negotiations at News Corporation said Mr. Klein would be charged with pursuing “entrepreneurial ventures” that cater to the educational marketplace.

Despite the mayor’s praise and an apparent deep admiration for Mr. Klein, one former senior Bloomberg administration official, speaking on the condition of anonymity because he did not want to jeopardize his relationship with City Hall, said that many people in the mayor's bullpen were dissatisfied with Mr. Klein because “he’s been a political load for a while.”

One of the first concrete signs that Mr. Klein was not long for the job was the appointment of Sharon L. Greenberger as the Education Department’s chief operating officer in April — something that, according to the official, “was imposed over Joel’s objection.”

Mr. Klein will remain with the city until the end of the year to help with Ms. Black’s transition. In an interview Tuesday, Mr. Klein was clear about his accomplishments as chancellor. When he accepted the job, he was part of a rising educational reform movement that drew lessons from the corporate world, like increasing parent choice through innovations like charter schools, weakening traditional union protections like tenure and bringing numbers-based accountability to schools to evaluate and rank them and to improve teaching.

“It’s a much more performance-driven system, and a much more professional system, and less politicized than when I started,” Mr. Klein said.

With the mayor, he dismantled the unwieldy system of local control that created 32 school districts. Power was centralized in the central Department of Education office, relocated from Brooklyn next to City Hall to emphasize its importance. The city’s 1,000-plus principals were given unprecedented authority over large sections of their school budgets.

From nearly the day he started, Mr. Klein attacked the union’s core principles — seniority, tenure and a set pay scale. During the 2005 contract negotiations, he was able to end the long-standing practice of giving teachers with seniority the ability to select which schools to work in. But that decision created a pool of floating veteran teachers who received full salaries without a permanent position, costing the city tens of millions of dollars annually.

Randi Weingarten, the president of the American Federation of Teachers and former head of the city’s teachers’ union, said that while she believed Mr. Klein was sincere in his efforts to improve student achievement, he had difficulty garnering support for his changes, both from educators as well as political leaders.

“Joel has a great intellect and did not suffer fools,” Ms. Weingarten said. “Sometimes what was lost was the ability to lead a great system in a way that you win the hearts and minds of the people who work in it and parents who send their kids there.”

In 2006, he introduced a system of A-to-F report cards, which rank most schools nearly exclusively on their progress on test scores. He chipped away at teacher pay based only on seniority, getting the union to agree to bonuses for schools that showed strong progress.

Some advocates and policy analysts said that Mr. Klein was a transformative force, turning the city’s public education system into something that people who had given up on it could believe in again. They said he welcomed talented educators to the back office and schools alike.

Joe Williams, executive director of Democrats for Education Reform, an advocacy group that supports charter schools and that has been often aligned with Mr. Klein, put it this way: “Joel Klein made public education sexy again.”

But Mr. Klein stumbled along the way, as when he adopted a reading curriculum of questionable efficacy early in his tenure only to reverse course after it did not produce good results.

Merryl Tisch, the chancellor of the State Board of Regents, frequently sparred with Mr. Klein — though largely privately — about his style of forcing change in the city. But Ms. Tisch said Mr. Klein successfully took a “dysfunctional system and gave it some management credibility.”

The city also benefited from Mr. Klein’s role as a national symbol of school reform, Ms. Tisch said, with private donors giving millions of dollars to help create new projects and experiments, like teacher performance bonuses and cash rewards for students who did well on exams.

“Joel will go down as one of the great urban educational reformers of this century,” Ms. Tisch said. “Not just because he fought hard fights, but he did it in New York City, which people had really written off.”

Yet, at every turn there was controversy. Schools were put under tremendous pressure to raise graduation rates or face closings. There was widespread concern that principals were inflating their numbers by granting credits to undeserving students.

“He is leaving us with a legacy of classroom overcrowding, communities fighting over co-located schools, kindergarten waiting lists, unreliable school grades based on bad data, substandard credit recovery programs and our children starved of art, music and science — all replaced with test prep,” said Leonie Haimson, the head of Class Size Matters, an advocacy group and a critic of Mr. Klein’s.

The opposition was further emboldened when the state announced this summer that the test scores on which Mr. Klein’s accountability system hinged were inflated because the exams had grown too easy to pass.

A correction brought test scores nearly back to the starting levels of the mayor’s tenure, replacing a narrative of historic gains with one of slow progress.

While Mr. Bloomberg and Mr. Klein said their achievements — opening 470 new schools, and raising graduation rates by 20 percent, for example — were beyond question, they acknowledged that there was much more to be done.

Asked whether he will be remembered as a divisive leader, Mr. Klein said, “I didn’t think you could make big changes to a $22 billion system — close down schools, hold people accountable, reward excellence — without pushback and controversy.”

“People will remember me differently,” he added. “They will remember me as a man who was committed to changing an educational system that was failing vast numbers of people. This was the most comprehensive school reform that has happened in this country.”

Reporting was contributed by Jack Begg, David W. Chen, Javier C. Hernandez, Fernanda Santos and Brian Stelter.